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Frequently Asked Questions

White House Historical Association Digital Library

Q:What is a digital library?

A: The White House Historical Association Digital Library is a public resource offering images and other materials related to the history of the White House and its occupants. The Library is continually expanding our holdings and adding new content. Anyone can browse the Library and create a free account to access downloads and other features.

Q: Do I have to pay to use the library?

A: No, creating an account is free! While anyone can see the library's content, if you want to download images or create albums, you need to create an account with us. Registration is easy and only takes a few minutes.

Q: How do I create an account?

A: You can go to the library's home page and click the "Create an Account" button From the library collection, you can click on the "Login" button at the top right hand corner at any time, then click the "Register" link in the login window to create your account. Or you can create an account from the link on our Digital Library homepage.

Q: How do I find images?

A: Search In Digital Library: The search bar in the top-right corner of the page is a great place to start. Just type in the words that describe what you are looking for, as you do on Google, and any relevant images that are available in the library will appear in the results.

Advanced Search: If you are looking for something very specific, click on the magnifying glass icon next to the search bar. This will allow you to add additional information to your search. For example, if you know the year the image you are looking for was taken, you can choose to search for that year.

Q: I’m not sure what I’m looking for.

A: On the left-hand side of the screen are categories that will narrow down what you're seeing on the page. You can browse the library through those categories quickly, or use them to reduce your search results.

Q: Can I leave a comment or a rating on an image?

A: No, we do not allow users to comment or rate our images. If you have found an error in the description or information, you can e-mail with the subject line "Error on site" and let us know what the issue is.

Q: What does the red triangle mean?

A: If you see a red triangle with an exclamation point, it mean the image has right restrictions. This can mean that the image is under copyright protection, or that there are special permissions needed to use the image. Personal or educational uses are protected by law and you may still download the low-res image file for those reasons. However, if you are seeking to purchase the image for editorial or commercial uses, the image may not be available. Please contact if you have any questions about a particular image.

Q: May I share the images on social media?

A: Yes! Just click on the Twitter and Facebook icons underneath the image preview to share images to your personal social media accounts. However, please remember you are still bound by our terms use. If we discover you are using our images to engage in harassment or any unethical or illegal behavior, your account may be terminated.

Q: Can I save an image so I can find it later?

A: Yes! Once you have logged in to your account, just click on the Pin icon and that will stick the image onto your Pins page. You can access your Pins from the top menu at any time. To remove an item from the Pins page, just click the Pin icon again. Please note that the Pins page only works within the Library; this does not share your pinned images with Pinterest or any other outside site.

Q: How can I collect multiple images I like or may use in the future?

A: You can add multiple images to an album. Once you have logged in to your account, click on the blue "Action" box just above the top-right corner of the image. Click "add to album" and select the album to which you wish to add the item. You also have the option of creating an album in that box.

You may share albums by sending a link or clicking the share button. You can also select all images in an album to download (see downloading instructions).

Q: Can I create multiple albums?

A: Yes, once you have logged in to your account, you can go to the "Albums" link in the top toolbar to manage your albums and create additional albums to organize your saved images.

Q: Can I download an image?

A: Yes, any registered user can download a small, low-resolution image of almost any item in the library. These images are for personal or educational use only. You may not use them for commercial purposes. Please see our Rights and Reproductions Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions for more details.

To download an image: You must be a registered user and logged in to your account to download an image. Click on the blue "Download" button just above the top-right corner of the image. When the image is ready, click "Save." The file will save to the downloads folder of your computer. Open the file to view the image, and save it elsewhere if desired.

Q: Why are the downloaded images smaller than those on the website?

A: We only allow low-resolution downloads for free. If you need a high-resolution image, you must purchase it.

Q: How can I purchase a high-resolution image?

A: First please click on the "Purchase Images" link in the toolbar near the top-center of the page and read the instructions. Once you understand the process, go to the image you want to purchase and click on the green "Purchase Image" button just above the top-right corner of the image. In the next window you will be prompted to provide your name, phone number and email address and a brief explanation of what your intended use of the image is. Please provide the same e-mail address you use to log into the Library. Click "Submit" to send the information.

Please note that it may take up to two (2) business days for the library staff to review your purchase request and proposed use. There may be follow up questions if your use is unclear as well. We recommend ordering images at least a week in advance of any deadlines to avoid delays.

Once your purchase is approved, a member of the library team will send you a secure online invoice, which you may pay with a credit card. Once payment is received, we process your request and notify you by email when your images are ready. You will be able to download your image(s) from the "My Purchases" folder.

The download process at this point works the same way as the free downloads—just click on the blue "Download" button and the high-resolution image will save to your computer. Downloads from the "My Purchases" folder will be the correct high-resolution file even though you are using the same "Download" button as the low-resolution process.

A fee schedule for the White House Historical Association image costs can be found in Section V of the Rights and Reproduction Guidelines. Please note that we charge an image cost and a use cost.

Q: How do I request an image that is not in the library?

A: Please send your request to A member of library team will see if the image is available. If we do not have the image, we will do our best to direct you to the appropriate resource where possible, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to locate every image.

Q: I have additional information about an image or I noticed an error, who do I contact?

A: Please contact us at

Q: Are there limitations to using these images?

A: Yes. By downloading image files from the White House Historical Association site, purchasing prints, or receiving image files from the White House Historical Association through any other means, you are bound to:

  1. The White House Historical Association terms of use (Section III of the Rights and Reproduction Guidelines).
  2. Any further written permission notice you will receive.

Q: What platform runs the Digital Library?

A: The Digital Library is run on a Digital Asset Management software called FotoWeb provided by FotoWare. Click here to learn more about FotoWare.

Q: What metadata standards do we use?

A: In order to preserve data associated with the items on the Digital Library, the White House Historical Association created its own metadata schema incorporating many standards including Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI), Visual Resource Association (VRA), Photoshop, and xmpRights.

Don’t see your question here? Contact us at and a member of the library team will respond to your inquiry.